Cornstalk

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Now we must fight or we are done.
I can die but once; and it is all one to me, now or another time.

Hokoleskwa [blade of corn], known as Cornstalk (172010 November 1777) was a prominent leader of the Shawnee people in the era of the American Revolution; his name has been spelled a variety of ways, including Colesqua and Keigh-tugh-qua.

Sourced[edit]

  • Be strong! Be strong!
    • Battle cry, repeatedly shouted out at the Battle of Point Pleasant (10 October 1774), as quoted in Sketches of Virginia: Historical and Biographical (1856) by Rev. William Henry Foote, Ch. 12 : Cornstalk — and the Battle at Point Pleasant
  • What shall we do now? the big knife is coming on us and we shall all be killed. Now we must fight or we are done. Then let us kill all our women and children and go fight until we die? I shall go and make peace!
    • Cornstalk to Shawnee council after the Battle of Point Pleasant (October 1774), as quoted in I Have Spoken : American History through the voices of the Indians‎ (1971) by Virginia Irving Armstrong, p. 27
    • Variant: Let us kill all our women and children, and go fight till we die.
      • As quoted in Best Little Stories from Virginia‎ (2003) by C. Brian Kelly, p. 74

Others On Chief Cornstalk[edit]

  • All savages seem to us alike as the trees of the distant forest. Here and there one unites in his own person, all the excellencies, and becomes the favourable representative of the whole, the image of savage greatness, the one grand character in which all others are lost to history or observation. Cornstalk possessed all the elements of savage greatness, oratory, statesmanship and heroism, with beauty of person and strength of frame. In appearance he was majestic, in manners easy and winning. Of his oratory, Colonel Benjamin Wilson, Senr., an officer in Dunmore's army, in 1774, having heard the grand speech to Dunmore in Camp Charlotte, says — "I have heard the first orators in Virginia, Patrick Henry, Richard Henry Lee, but never have I heard one whose powers of delivery surpassed those of Cornstalk on that occasion." Of his statesmanship and bravery there is ample evidence both in the fact that he was chosen head of the Confederacy, and in the manner he conducted the war of 1774, and particularly by his directions of the battle at Point Pleasant.
    • Rev. William Henry Foote, in "Cornstalk, the Shawanee Chief" in The Southern Literary Messenger Vol. 16, Issue 9, (September 1850) pp. 533-540
  • Cornstalk was often seen with his warriors. Brave without being rash, he avoided exposure without shrinking; cautious without timidity in the hottest of the battle, he escaped without a wound. As one of the warriors near him showed some signs of timidity, the enraged chief, — with one blow of his tomahawk, cleft his skull. In one of the assaults, Colonel Fields, performing his duty bravely, was shot dead. … The faltering of the ranks encouraged the savages. "Be strong! Be strong!" echoed through the woods over the savage lines in the tones of Cornstalk; and as Captain after Captain, and files of men after files of men, fell, the yells of the Indians were more terrific and their assaults more furious.
    • Rev. William Henry Foote, in Sketches of Virginia: Historical and Biographical (1856), Ch. 12 : Cornstalk — and the Battle at Point Pleasant
  • Upon reaching a place of safety, the Indians held a council. They had been defeated in their long expected great battle. The "long knives" were pressing on. Cornstalk enquired, what should be done. No one spoke. After a solemn pause, Cornstalk arose. "We must fight, or we are undone. Let us kill our women and children, and go and fight till we die." He sat down. After a long pause, he rose again and striking his tomahawk into the council post, said — "Then I'll go and make peace."
    • Rev. William Henry Foote, in Sketches of Virginia: Historical and Biographical (1856), Ch. 12 : Cornstalk — and the Battle at Point Pleasant

External links[edit]

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